Candidate profile: Pete Basola

What you need to know about the April 2019 election

The 2019 municipal election is April 2. Here are some key dates and times you need to know if you're planning to vote.
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The 2019 municipal election is April 2. Here are some key dates and times you need to know if you're planning to vote.

Name: Pete Basola

Age: 69

Town: Jerseyville

Occupation: Retired

Position Seeking: Trustee, Lewis and Clark Community College Board Of Trustees

Why are you running and why should people vote for you? I have been on the Board for the last nine years. I have an extensive background in community college administration as well. My combined knowledge and experience has been and will continue to be valuable assets to students, faculty/staff and taxpayers.

What are the most important issues the facing the community college, and how would you approach them? The last several years have been challenging because of budgetary constraints at the State level. I would encourage our legislators to never again try to function without a State budget. In addition, I believe hiring and retaining quality faculty members is vital to the quality of our education. Stability of budgets and faculty are key issues.

Under what circumstances would you vote to raise property taxes or fees for the college? Our administrative staff has done a great job balancing the needs of our students with the needs of our taxpayers. Surviving difficult economic and budgetary times is vital to the continual growth and quality of our institution. Even with these difficult times recently, our tax rate has diminished over the last two years. There have been a few fee increases to meet the growing demand of our students. So, it depends on many factors and the state of our sources of funding.

What are your goals for the community college/what do you want to accomplish? My top priority is to insure that the college maintains it quality and service to students. Equally important is maintaining our fiscally conservative processes. I am mindful that cutting programs and services too much can only serve to fail our students and our community. It is a delicate balance. And I realize that our college is a beacon of hope and opportunity for our many residents seeking to improve their lives and the lives of their families. This is my driving motivation.

Enrollment has been dropping at community colleges around the state. How should schools try to reverse that trend? Enrollments usually run counter cyclical to the overall economy. When more people are employed, enrollments tend to drop. However, our college has been attracting more and more high school graduates who have career goals and transfer to university goals. Our high school partnership dual credit program provides an impetus for students to continue at the college after high school graduation. These kinds of partnership programs are the reason our enrollments have dropped less than many other colleges. As such, we are encouraging our administration to be innovative in finding ways to meet the needs of our many students and keep them in college until they graduate.